According to a new Forrester Research report, mobile banking will reach 108 million users in the U.S. by 2017. That’s about 46% of all U.S. bank account holders. Today, according to Forrester’s latest survey, just about 13% of U.S. and 9% of European mobile phone owners regularly use their banks’ mobile banking tools. The market is growing quickly, however, and Forrester’s analysts believe that mobile banking is finally seeing sustained traction.
While we’ve heard a lot about digital wallets, Square and other cutting edge mobile payment systems lately, the reality is that even something as straightforward as mobile banking is still a novelty for many users.
At this time, according to the report, most users are just using mobile banking to check their balances (45%), transaction histories (61%) and to transfer money between their own accounts (31%). In the U.S., 65% of mobile bankers use their banks’ mobile sites and 45% use apps. In Europe, SMS alerts still remain the most common type of mobile banking.
According to Forrester’s survey, today’s mobile bankers tend to be upmarket customers who are younger, have higher incomes and are more experienced online than the average mobile phone user. The company’s analysts, however, believe that the growing adoption of smartphones will increase the number of mobile bankers in the coming years. In addition, as today’s “digital natives” become banking customers, using their phones to pay their bills or to make a transfer will just seem natural to them.
The analysts also note that mobile banking and mobile payments will converge over the coming years as “companies in other sectors, and mobile platforms like Apple, continue to shift the goalposts with innovation.” Customers, Forrester’s analysts say, will soon expect their banks to deliver the same kinds of conveniences as tools like PayPal Mobile and Square.